Why I Hate The Question 'What's Your Major?'
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Student Life

Why I Hate The Question 'What's Your Major?'

Why I Hate The Question 'What's Your Major?'

College majors. Parents use it to brag about their kids. Oh yes, my son is studying biology. He wants to be a doctor. We students use it to make small talk at various social gatherings. What's your major? Oh cool, do you know so-and-so? I'm pretty sure that's her major too.Professors use it as a dreaded icebreaker on the first day of class. OK, so we're going to go around the room, and everyone is going to say their name, major and favorite color . We are all guilty of asking the question: What’s your major? This question isn’t particularly offensive, and it’s a good way to get to know someone. But the reason I hate this question is because it’s a test.

Your major typically defines your career choice, or at least the career you would like to pursue, or think you will enjoy for the rest of your life. It determines how you will measure up to society's standards, and so a great amount of judgment is passed onto students depending on what the answer to that ever-popular question is.

A major in one of the fine arts? Well, you have something to fall back on, don’t you? How many theatre and dance students have been told that their career choice is completely unrealistic?

Or how about teaching? You want to be a teacher but aren’t fluent in another language? You’re not double majoring in special education? Good luck finding a job.

To some, saying “undecided” is the equivalent to saying you plan on living in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life.

However, not knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life is perfectly natural for any 18, 19 or 20-something-year old. In fact, it’s pretty unrealistic to expect that kids straight out of high school know what they want in life, and to expect them to love every minute of a career they will be working at for the next 30 plus years.

And yet, these are all things students are told and these are only a few examples. In the world we live in today, careers are extremely specialized. This is a great thing, it offers more opportunities for so many; students pursuing the arts have entire schools dedicated to their field of study. Students and people with special needs have so many more opportunities to be active members of society and have so many more teachers and staff to nurture their growth. And those students that go into college undecided have a world of different topics and fields of study to explore. On the other hand, students are pressured to be wildly different from each other and be involved in numerous things across campus while maintaining stellar grades, and are pigeon holed into extremely specific major requirements in order to be “different” from each other.

Speaking from a student perspective, picking a major is terrifying. I am very lucky to have chosen a major and applied into my program before I even began school. However, at least once a semester (maybe once a week), I have a moment of panic as I think: is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?

It is certainly not a crime to ask someone what their major is. However, society needs to stop putting so much pressure on students and judging them based on their career path. Let us be young, let us make our own choices and explore our talents, because everything happens for a reason, and everything will work out in the end.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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